Wondering what’s been keeping Venus Patrol relatively radio-silent the past couple months? Here’s one big reason: Thursday, June 13th, concurrent with this year’s E3 expo, the site will be partnering with MOCAtv, the video channel of Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, to present HORIZON, a press conference that will highlight a lineup of beautiful games as an alternative to what we’ve come to expect from standard E3 fare.
While we’re still keeping a tight lid on what the actual lineup will entail, the conference will present games from studios both small and large, and will showcase new looks at and details about some games you may have already heard of, as well as brand new games from some of your favorite developers, and very possibly some super secret new surprises that will be entirely unexpected.
If you’re a member of the press, invites to the event will be headed your way shortly — so save the date now — email email@example.com if you’re especially excited about attending and we’ll do what we can to make sure you’re there!
The genesis of HORIZON came as Cory Schmitz (who is, of course, behind the fantastic HORIZON design) & I sat at home streaming last year’s string of E3 press conferences and instantly decided to “light a candle, rather than curse the darkness” and try to put together the E3 experience we wanted to see in the world.
Through the organizational help and guidance of Double Fine‘s Greg Rice, Mathew Kumar, and especially the involvement of MOCAtv and curator Sarah Brin (who also helped organize the super excellent Ahhhcade exhibition at SFMOMA during this year’s Game Developers Conference), we think we’re putting together something very exciting, which we hope will stand out and become a new E3 tradition.
We’ll have much more to say about HORIZON in the coming weeks — we hope you’ll start looking forward to this as much as we are!
A week or so on, I wanted to give a quick update from both Keita & me, to say many thanks for everyone that’s supported the Videogame Romantics project so far, and to announce this little site I had a wild hare to put together over the weekend: WeAreVideogameRomantics.com, a mega-site of everyone who’s joined our league to express their “naïve, pure, wonderful, and silly Love“.
If you’ve already received your order — or were one of the many who bought one of the T-shirts at our GDC party this year — we’d love to have you submit a photo of yourself wearing the shirt, as a couple of you already have! You can do so here (it even works directly from your iPhone library through some manner of tumblr magic) — and hopefully soon enough we can crowd out the random package shots I added with some real actual human faces. We look forward to seeing you there!
OK, it’s time to unbury this lede a bit: as you may have seen, New York designers Eric Zimmerman, Naomi Clark, and Ranjit Bhatnagar have just launched a Kickstarter that will revive cult-legend online multiplayer game Sissyfight 2000 — nearly a decade after it was last playable — and they’ll be doing so on a new home for online games currently being built by QWOP creator Bennett Foddy & myself.
Probably you will have had to be of a certain age & persuasion to remember the original Sissyfight — it was first launched in 2000 as part of the long-defunct web-zine Word.com, which at the time was a massive influence on me as a college kid who, even then, wanted to smash together the world of comics, words and interactive art & games in a way that it’d take me another 15 years to get right. (For more on that, I highly recommend spending your afternoon traversing this visual history of Word, and the Wayback Machine’s admittedly super-broken but still relatively complete archives, which you can jump forward in time a bit to see more issues of. It was the actual best website of the late 90s.)
Sissyfight itself was a cornerstone of what made Word.com amazing, and — apart from the Kickstarter page itself — Zimmerman, Wikipedia, and this ancient Salon article will best get you back up to speed on the game itself. Or, even more briefly, here’s how the precis goes: it’s a real-time online playground game for 3-6 players, each trying to lower the self-esteem of their pig-tailed opponents through a series of carefully considered rounds of teasing, scratching & tattling, which presents a surprising amount of team-up tactics to reduce your rivals to ruins.
An online press preview last week was the first time I’d played the game since my now quite hazy college days, and I was delighted to find it was as compelling & engaging as I’d remembered, which is just part of the reason I’m proud to be able to have a hand in its re-birth.
If you visit the Kickstarter page, you’ll find that I’m doing that not only with some direct support of the campaign itself — with a very limited number of some of my own remaining supply of Venus Patrol Kickstarter goods, including some Scott C prints & #sworcery 7″s — but by providing the web-home where you’ll be able to play the game on its re-release.
On that: we’re still being somewhat tight-lipped about What This New Online Games Site Will Entail, but Foddy & I — with the help of the super amazing developer Mark Olson — have been quietly building up what we hope you’ll regard as a beautiful, vibrant place to both discover new games and, crucially, learn more about the actual people who develop them.
We’ll explain what this all entails very soon (the site is looking great, but we’ve still got a bit of sweeping up to do before we open the doors) — in the meantime, all of us hope you’ll join us on the first step and support Team Sissyfight in bringing back a long-lost classic.
It’s time for that little link at the top to shine a little brighter: I’m very pleased to announce that the Venus Patrol Shop is now, finally, open for business, which also brings even better news — the official, worldwide release of Keita Takahashi’s Videogame Romantics T-shirts.
In addition to the remaining “Sunset” stock we originally made available at our Wild Rumpus / Venus Patrol GDC Party, we’re also introducing two new colorways: “Octopus”, with pink on heather-purple, and “Treasure”, with sparkly gold on black (which, to Keita’s dismay, is not made of actual gold).
The Venus Patrol Shop is also currently stocked with a small selection of other items from friends of the site, including T-shirts, prints and zines from artists & writers like Maré Odomo, Cory Schmitz, Zac Gorman and Mathew Kumar. You’ll even find a few super-premium items in stock, like these hand-woven scarves featuring art from Faraway creator Steph Thirion’s debut game Eliss.
Be sure to let Keita & I know how you like the shirts! Photos for our scrapbook/future Tumblr posts can be submitted care of that Submit link at top. And overall, I genuinely hope you like what you see at the store, and thanks much to our superpals at Fangamer for all the hard work they put into making it a real thing — stay tuned for news on many more things I’m working on bringing to it in the coming months!
I should probably slow down a bit with the Big Announcements, but there’s just too much to get through before everything explodes next week, so here’s One More Big One: in addition to the debut of Tenya Wanya Teens, our March 27th GDC party will also see the release of a new T-shirt designed by Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi.
The ‘Videogame Romantics’ shirt, inspired by Takahashi’s speech featured on Venus Patrol a few months back, will be released at the party in the ‘Sunset’ colorway pictured above, in a very limited edition that will be exclusive to that one night.
Following the party, the shirt will be the first item available worldwide on the Venus Patrol Shop — long teased in that top bar, but now actually coming soon in partnership with our superpals at Fangamer — in two new colorways, and probably even more colorways after those sell through, and then, hopefully, branching out into many more new designs after this.
Until then, if you want to fly your fellow Videogame Romantic freak flag in those colors above, I would suggest literally like bee-lining to the Fangamer booth at our party on March 27th as soon as possible, because I honestly don’t think they’re going to last long.
You’ve no doubt spotted our various teasers for the game across the web, but with just a week until its debut at our upcoming GDC party, it’s time to pull back the curtain just a bit more: introducing Tenya Wanya Teens, a co-production of Venus Patrol, Wild Rumpus, and Uvula, the husband & wife indie team of Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi & former Namco composer Asuka Sakai.
What is Tenya Wanya Teens? It’s “a coming-of-age tale about love, hygiene, monsters and finding discarded erotic magazines in the woods”. It’s a game about trying desperately to not say or do the wrong thing at the wrong time — that universal struggle to maintain the façade of normality during the awkward transition from child- to adulthood.
But, more than anything, really, it’s a silly party game for two players armed with sixteen buttons each, as demonstrated on prototype box-file controllers by Wild Rumpus’s Marie Foulston & Dick Hogg above, as we put the final touches on the real deluxe custom joysticks that will make their debut alongside the game.
In addition to its appearance at the party, Tenya Wanya Teens will also be part of the lineup at GDC’s Experimental Gameplay Sessions on Friday, so stop by there if you aren’t able to see it earlier in the week.
After that? Stay tuned for news about release to the wider world: we’re already thinking about how we can bring the game to your home, even granted its poly-button insanity — we’ll have more about that in the future both here and at the official Tenya Wanya Teens website & twitter account.
With just two weeks to go until the full Game Developers Conference madness officially kicks in, Wild Rumpus & Venus Patrol have just released the first wave of lineup announcements for our 2013 party, with both some familiar faces and some brand new additions.
Sound Shapes co-creator & star I Am Robot And Proud will be performing a live set including his own brand-new reactive visuals (get a little sneak peek of that here), and Super Hexagon‘s own Chipzel (above) will be part of a lineup that also includes Dyad/Proteus musician David Kanaga, and Gun Godz & Luftrausers‘ Kozilek.
Also returning will be Anticon superstar Dose One, now with his Themselves, 13&God & Subtle bandmate Jel (see why he’s the “MPC emperor” in the video above). After the performances, Fez‘s Phil Fish & former Uncharted designer Rich Lemarchand will be playing out the night with their usual fantastic dance set as Phillipe Lemarchand.
On the games side, not only will we be debuting the previously mentioned new game from Keita Takahashi (which we are now also teasing as a game about “love, hygiene, monsters, and finding discarded erotic magazines in the woods”), but showcasing Super Space ____, the ever-amazing Samurai Gunn, and a new mashed-up version of Panoramical & SoundSelf (above), the latter just announced from Capsule & Antichamber sound artist Robin Arnott.
If you’ll be around the Bay Area on March 27th & haven’t yet purchased tickets, we’ve just opened up another round which can be purchased by clicking right over here. We’ll have more info coming soon as the date draws even more dangerously near!
See more posts about: AOPATAD, Chipzel, David Kanaga, Dose One, I Am Robot And Proud, Jel, Keita Takahashi, Kozilek, Luftrausers, Panoramical, Phil Fish, Proteus, Richard Lemarchand, Samurai Gunn, Sound Shapes, SoundSelf, Super Hexagon, Super Space ____, Venus Patrol, Wild Rumpus
Finally it can be told: I’m super pleased to announce that one of the many new additions to the site I’ve been ultra-quietly toiling on over the past month is this: Venus Patrol is now the new home of GameToilet, the ultra-brilliant games comic series from artist & game dev Jerry ‘King Baggot‘ Carpenter.
For the past couple years, Carpenter has been concocting and scribbling down in his inimitable style as much as a new videogame idea every single day, with a total count now well past 500. They’re occasionally topical, sometimes profane, but always incredibly funny and too-clever by half, and each ache to be actually brought to life as a real, playable game.
What I love about them most, though, is that they’re all very happily hyper-aware of wider culture: Carpenter’s the only person I know who’d devote an entire week to creating Yo La Tengo-related games, or casually tossing out Tarkovsky & Gaspar Noe platformers or Michael Haneke hidden-object games or David Lynch-themed brawlers.
While the bulk of GameToilet’s move-in to its new digs is already complete, there’s still a bit of sweeping up to do. There are actual playable games like the above Inch High C.S.I. — which I had the distinct, uh… honor? of being the title-corpse for — that need to be re-embedded, and a few formatting issues that need to be sorted, as we start to roll out new semi-mostly-regular comics in the coming weeks & months.
But until then, you can flush away a few hours by wending your way back through the archives via its new permanent home at gametoilet.venuspatrol.com, or by theme, like his Film Games section or the aptly-titled best-of-the-best section, ‘Floaters‘. I hope you love them as much as I do!
As I previously hinted at earlier in the week and have finally polished to near-perfection, you’ll find a few new additions to the Venus Patrol family have just gone live. The first, pictured above (and teased in the top bar since the site started rolling), is Venus Patrol B-Side.
Think of B-Side as just that: a selection of only quasi-game-related findings I dig up on a daily basis through my trawls across the way-too-many-thousands of sites in my Google Reader. You’ll find music, art, animation, motion graphics, illustration, comics and a whole bunch more, from a wide variety of insanely talented people.
I often get asked if I know any artists or musicians who might be willing to jump in and give a new indie game an aesthetic overhaul to set it a step above the rest, almost as often as I get asked by artists if they know any developers who might need a hand with the same: B-Side‘s one way that I hope to bring both of those worlds together more formally.
I totally don’t expect that you’ll love absolutely everything there, but it’s a way to highlight more of that ‘greater culture sandwich’ Capy’s Kris Piotrowski promised in the Venus Patrol Kickstarter video. It may not be for everyone, but it might just be for you.
The other new branch of the tree is Venus Patrol Micro. When I first launched Venus Patrol, a surprising amount of you requested that the site figure out a way to work its way into Tumblr more formally, as the Dashboard there was one of their main daily sources of keeping abreast of what’s going on.
The only thing holding me back was that just weeks before Venus Patrol launched, the top cross-posting plugin, Tumblrize, had just fallen prey to new API changes at Tumblr, and it looked like there was no hope in sight. Enter Ari Velazquez, who, over the past couple weeks, has been invaluable at updating the plugin so that everything that gets posted here gets ported to Tumblr in micro-form. It’s perfect!
All of this work means that not only do you have a way to directly follow both Micro and B-Side from your dashboard, but that Venus Patrol is now one of Tumblr’s own “Spotlight” gaming sites, as of a few hours ago, right alongside the official Day-Z site, the super rad Box Vs Box blog, Zac Gorman’s Magical Game Time, and our pals at the ever-essential Tiny Cartridge.
A brief housekeeping update & a quick tease to say that while the site went a bit dark over the holiday weekend, it was only in service of cooking up a few new things that I’ll be rolling out over the next couple days.
One of those I’ve already alluded to a bit around the site, which is actually something that a surprising amount of VP members have requested, and the other is something that no one will have known they wanted until it happened, which is something I hope kicks off a new semi-regular trend.
With any luck, the first will come tomorrow (entirely contingent on how long I can keep myself awake tonight to spit-polish the last bits), and the second is expected on Thursday: I genuinely hope you’ll think both were worth all the collective time & effort that went into them!
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